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June 21th 2006 
 Independent Filmmakers Alliance Newsletter
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In this issue, Everwood actor Gregory Smith talks about his newest role as producer on the low-budget film Wieners.
 Gregory Smith’s Newest Role
 by Karina Halle

Gregory Smith’s Newest Role

In his 22 years, actor Gregory Smith has had his fair share of diversified roles; a kid battling army toys come-to-life in Toy Soldiers, the war-hungry son of Mel Gibson in The Patriot, or a sensitive yet strong-minded teenager moving to a small town in Everwood. But the latest role for this ambitious Canadian is that of producer.

Smith and producer Susan Johnson have started up Braveart Films and are busy in the pre- production stage of their first film Wieners, a low-budget movie that Smith describes as a “buddy road trip comedy about three best friends who go on a trip and help each other stand up for themselves and strengthen their friendship along the way.”
“But,” he adds, “it’s also very silly and very funny too.”

Although Smith has been acting since the age of six, his turn to producing is a result of wanting to broaden his skills and gain stability in a notoriously unstable industry.

“I’ve always loved acting so that’s always going to be the thing that I am most passionate about,” says Smith. “It (his opting to produce) is a combination of acting being somewhat unstable and also me wanting to diversify, and to get to the point where I can be the master of my own destiny a bit more. And overall, anything I do and anything I have ever done, I always get fascinated by how it works and want to see if I can do it.”

And do it, he can. Smith decided to take on the project after reading a script that one of his best friends had written on spec.

“He gave it to me to read for my opinion, to see if I had any advice or notes on it,” says Smith. “I fell in love with it. I was like, ‘dude, this is so funny.’ Then he was submitting it to places, trying to get it set up and I was giving him advice here and there.”

At the time, Smith was also in talks with Johnson, with whom he worked as an actor for the upcoming filmNearing Grace, about starting up a production company together.

“These two things were happening simultaneously and starting to come together. It was a perfect fit. Susan and I optioned the script, we set it up and then it took on a life of its own.”

So far, Smith says it’s been quite a different experience acting as a producer on set rather than as an actor.

“It’s different for me because I’m so used to looking at everything from the inside out,” he says. “As an actor, you’re on set, you’re in front of the camera, so you’re kind of in the middle of it and everything flows outwards from there. But being on set as a producer, you get there and the actors are on set, and you’re behind the camera, looking at the monitor – you’re on the outside, looking in.”

The most challenging part of producing, according to Smith, is knowing that you can’t please everyone all the time and the most important thing he’s realized is that you need to balance individual needs with the “big picture.”

“You have to find out what’s most important for the film and not for the individual. Always keep in mind the bigger picture of the movie and what is best for it. Because if the movie doesn’t turn out good, then what’s the point of anything else? ”

He says that so far there has been no “real big surprises,” but has learned that “if you do your job right – if you do a really good job in pre-production, it can run smoothly. The ideal goal is to put all the elements together in such a way that you aren’t even necessary.”

Next, Smith hopes to continue with producing and hopefully move on to directing in the future.

“There is not a single doubt in my mind that I will, when I am ready to and I feel I can do a better job than anybody else, but I’m not there yet. I hope to be there someday.”

Meanwhile, Braveart Films has its hands full with a stream of films lined up, preferring to take on projects that inspire Smith, rather than sticking to a certain genre.

“We have a couple of projects we are developing right now,” Smith says. “Wieners is a comedy, the one we want to do next is a family movie and the one after that is a psychological thriller. So, really there is no specific type or genre of movie that we want to make. It’s just whatever story or character I hear about that makes me think about it and I can’t get it out of my head – that’s what makes me want to show it to the people.”

As for what the future might bring with Wieners, Smith is optimistic: “my hopes for the film is that it turns out as good as the script is and that it makes people laugh - my hopes for the future is just to keep working and find things that are inspiring to me. It doesn’t matter how good of a job you do, you also have to get lucky. So, hopefully, I’ll just continue to work and do different things.”

Having already accomplished so many things at just age 22, it looks like Smith’s luck isn’t going to run out anytime soon.

For comments or further story ideas, please contact karina at karina@ifilmalliance.com. Find out more.... - www.ifilmalliance.com


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